Making changes means ‘making or becoming different’ – you are either introducing something new, or altering something that already exists.
Changing something means you are leaving your comfort zone. You are used to doing things a certain way and for certain reasons and when this changes you tend to resist, saying ‘but we’ve always done it this way and it works fine’. But do you really know how or why the changes have come about? Change, if implemented thoughtfully, can be a positive thing as we will demonstrate in this chapter.
We are constantly experiencing change – both in the workplace and at personally:
In the workplace
Changes in technology affect us all differently; think of the changes in the way we work today using business equipment such as computers, internet, email, ATM, online conferencing, and the portability of communications
They promised us a paperless office (although it hasn’t quite happened yet!) and we now have systems in place to store our information on a micro chip no bigger than your thumb nail – you used to fill a filing cabinet with the same amount of information. Computers have also ensured that making bookings for services and keeping track of people and stock etc much quicker and easier.
We can save enormous amounts of time doing business online which saves on effort, cost (envelopes, paper, stamps) and it’s quick and convenient.
In your personal life
Think about what changes have taken place in your personal life.
- Taking a training course (you do this to change your prospects or your knowledge levels)
- Moving house (why do you do this?)
- Changing jobs (why do you do this?)
- Leaving school and entering the workforce(how do you cope with this?)
- “Throwing out your favourite old shoes!!!” (why do you do this?)
How often do these changes occur? Whatever the reason for the change you are altering the current state of operation.
For a change to take place effectively and with as little disruption or trauma as possible, you need to approach the issue systematically:
You (or your managers) need to:
- assess the need for change – what is currently happening and why isn’t it working anymore?
- research what needs to be done – look at the steps you need to take (in logical order) to get from where you are now to where you want to be.
- look for potential problems with the new procedure and seek solutions.
- obtain feedback and input from relevant staff from a variety of departments
- implement the change – introduce the new plan, process or system to all concerned and provide any necessary training to staff
- evaluate the effectiveness of the change – iron out any problems and determine if the new process or system is actually doing what it is supposed to.
For example, when you move house;
Firstyou assess the need for change;
- you’ve got more kids and the house is too small
- you can afford a better neighbourhood
- you are being transferred to a new city/country etc
Secondyou determine what kind of house would now suit you. You:
- look at houses in the right area
- look at houses the right size
- check for landrate costs etc
- look how close transport, shops and schools are, etc
- find out about moving costs
Third, you move!
Finallyyou settle in to your new house and take care of all the things you couldn’t do before you moved:
- adding additional power points
- knocking out the wall between the family room and the dining room
- modernising the kitchen etc.
Change starts with dissatisfaction.
All changes come about due to satisfaction with the current state of being. For example;
Personal (influenced by you). You might be dissatisfied with your;
Work (influenced by you)
- Department you work in.
- Work area
Supervisory (influenced by others)
- Work procedure
- Work environment
- Other staff
Management (influenced by others)
- Company structure
- Introduction of new product / service
- Introduction of new policies
- New owners / managers (new broom – change for change sake)
- Customers requirements
- Market trends
If there is dissatisfaction with the current state of play and you or your supervisors or managers start looking for a better way to do things